The Babadook ★★★½

This was the film I was most disappointed at missing due to not being able to make Frightfest this year, so there was a lot of expectation on it for me. Thankfully it does just about live up to it as it's a really solid film with a lot more going on than you would initially expect.

The thing you probably notice first about the film are it's two fantastic lead performances. Essie Davis is great as Amelia, a mother struggling to cope with the loss of her husband and her child who is suffering with ADD, but it's her son that steals the show. At first he comes off as a little annoying, but it's needed to show just what a handful he is for his mother. Noah Wiseman is just great and gives one of the best child performances I've ever seen.

The film works on two levels. The first being a straight up horror film with a haunted house style vibe. The Babadook it's self is very creepy and there is some great voice work as it says “babadook dook dook while the mother hides under the sheets. It's a great scene and is perfectly executed. The other level is a film about a woman struggling to deal with grief and depression. The film certainly deal with these issues and really makes you feel for Amelia. Caring for Samuel is a slog and she's doing her best and it just never seems to be enough.

The Babadook is a really solid film that explores big ideas really well, but it never grabbed me as much as I would have hoped. Maybe this was down to the over expectations as there really is little to fault with the film. I'll be looking forward to seeing what the director does in the future and it's great to see a new female director on the scene.